Tag Archives: peanut butter

Granola Cookies

October air has a necessary tension.

I’ve always loved fall months best. Maybe it’s because it’s when the notion of “coziness” pervades all things. There’s nothing I love more than drinking my morning coffee while wrapped in a blanket, wearing patterned socks with moccasins, and seeing my breath as I watch the sky turn shades of pink.

But school isn’t meant for idleness, and so underlying necessities obscure my constant daydream. This past week was one of the busiest I’ve had, partly my own fault, given, but still- I always have something I ought to be doing.

Still getting used to the lighting in Crafts House. I’ll find that sweet spot soon, promise!

Like baking. Apparently I’ve let it slip that the kitchen is like my studio, and so now I’m expected to have a different nom for every occasion. Club meeting? Bake some brownies. House meeting? Cake for everyone. 4 am study break? Quick breads for the morning.

If it sounds like I’m complaining or something, trust me, I’m not. I’d bake all day and all night. Well maybe not all day, but definitely all night. Anyone else a stress/study break baker? Nothing better than butter, sugar, and flour to cut right through the cloud of work floating around my head.

Onto the noms:

There’s granola, the delicious, crunchy cereal that we’ve all come to know and love, and then there’s a granola, which Urban Dictionary ever so eloquently describes as:

“An adjective used to describe people who are environmentally aware (flower child, tree-hugger), open-minded, left-winged, socially aware and active, queer or queer-positive, anti-oppressive/discriminatory (racial, sexual, gender, class, age, etc.) with an organic and natural emphasis on living, who will usually refrain from consuming or using anything containing animals and animal by-products.”

If being a granola is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. These cookies are certainly fit for a granola, or anyone else who simply loves gooey yet crunchy, filling yet delicate, and refined but nostalgic vegan sweets.

Peanut Butter Granola Cookies
(makes about 30 cookies)

Ingredients:

Preparation:

In large bowl, combine margarine and brown sugar, and beat until fluffy. Add in apple sauce, peanut butter, agave, and vanilla, and stir until combined. Make a well in the center of dough, and add flour, stirring until incorporated. Next, stir in granola, one cup at a time, and finally oats, until dough is solid enough to stay together. If dough is too loose, add another 1/4 cup of oats and 2 tablespoons of flour.

Drop dough by tablespoon onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, until edges are just browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from sheet to cooling rack.

~

I should really go work on my biology lab now, but first, you might enjoy this session from Indians.

Happy nomming,

Danny

Peanut Butter Apple Bars

Can we all take a moment to praise apples?

Sweet orbs of sugary, autumny goodness. Whenever I go to my dining hall, I have three objectives: acquire coffee (all day every day), acquire granola, and acquire apples, lots of apples.

I usually stash them in my backpack so that I can just whip one out in the middle of class, or walking to class, or whenever. Portability- always a good thing when it comes to food. Nom and go.

Well, as you might know, I’m now cooking and/or baking for more than just me and my family. Which is actually really great, because over the summer I was just churning out baked goods and subsequently devouring them all myself. But it also means I have a shorter time frame between when baked goods come out of the oven and when they are promptly devoured.

Crafty kitchen in the autumn-time, forgive my misplaced nostalgia.

Honestly, the base for these cookies turned out a bit dry. It’s all dat peanut butter- you’ve got to augment it with some liquids so that it doesn’t all evaporate in the oven. In this updated recipe, I’ve added more applesauce and more butter/margarine. Nonetheless, these bars look real nice.

One last note: leave the skins on the apples! They’re full of fiber and a bunch of other nutrients that take apple from a simple fruit to a superfood. And personally, I like the added texture!

Peanut Butter Apple Bars
(adapted from Elissa at 17 & Baking)

Ingredients
5 apples, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour (or sub. all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (or sub. agave)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup almond milk (or sub. any nut milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons margarine, melted

In small bowl, combine apple slices with lemon juice and brown sugar. Toss to coat the apples, and set aside.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sift and make a well in the center. Add peanut butter, maple syrup, applesauce, almond milk, vanilla, and margarine. Stir just until dough forms.

Grease a 13×9 in. sheet pan. Press dough into pan and along sides. Layer apples in rows on top of dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until dough just starts to brown along the edges. Be careful not to overbake. Makes about 20 bars.

~

That’s all from me at the moment, considering I’m actually typing this from my psychological statistics class and the teacher keeps catching me glancing at food porn. Ah well. Worth it.

Happy nomming,

Danny

PB&J Protein Squares

A weekend in the mountains works wonders.

I forgot how much I missed not showering. And hiking, and snakes, and fishing for minnows with my hands. And meteors! I could keep going for a long, long time with the list. But yes, all that Appalachian air finally gave my mind some of the clarity it’d been distinctly missing.

Coffee with a view. Serene as heck.

Naturally, I did get to do some cooking on the trip. There was an apple tree right near the cabin where I climbed up and shook down a lot of apples. I wasn’t sure what kind they were, but I sautéed them with maple and cinnamon for a quick treat. Of course there were ample authentic s’mores, which were maybe even better than those S’mores Donuts I made a couple of weeks ago.

Apple pickin’, West Virginia style.

Authentique campfire. I guess all those nature camps taught me something.

But now I’m home, and the baking can begin again! I was seriously protein deprived after a weekend of carbs carbs and more carbs, so I set out to make a protein bar without the use of protein powder (which I’ve sort of given up on, I can’t find a good, cheap vegan one!) but still with natural protein sources. They’re PB&J flavored too- a classic flavor combination made healthy!

Vegan PB&J Protein Squares

Ingredients- Bars
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup peanut butter (or sub. any nut butter)
1/8 dark brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached organic flour (or sub. peanut flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup + 1 tb almond milk (or any nut milk)
3/4 cup rolled oats

In food processor, blend chickpeas until smooth. Add peanut butter and blend. Add brown sugar, flour, and baking powder, and pulse until dough forms. Add in milk and blend until smooth. Stir in rolled oats.

Spread into greased 11″ x 7″ glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until tops form a slight crust. Cool before topping with frosting.

Ingredients- Frosting
1 package light firm tofu, drained (12.3 oz)
1/3 cup jelly/jam, any flavor (I used strawberry)
3 tb chia seeds
optional: mint leaves

In food processor, combine tofu and jelly/jam. Add in 2 tb of the chia seeds, and blend again. If desired, add a few sprigs of mint. Add in last 1 tb of chia, and stir into frosting mixture. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until frosting has thickened. Spread over peanut butter bars and serve. Makes about 12 squares.

Well, now that I’ve got a huge pan full of bars, I ought to go share some. In the meantime, I had a nice moment during the meteor shower last night where this Owen Pallett song kept playing through my head. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was about to be sucked into outer space the whole time I was watching the stars (probably because every lucid dream I have ends that way… more on this strange phenomenon another day). But anyways, here’s to hoping my two feet stay planted on solid Earth.

Happy nomming,

Danny

Raw Nutter Butters

Everything that rises must converge.

Really, though, has anyone else ever suddenly become overwhelmed with interconnectedness? That feeling that, as Murakami might write, “something of great importance is about to happen?” It often strikes me in times of stasis, where I imagine all the mundane elements around me might transform and mesh at the very drop of a hat.

It’s a difficult notion to explain, but it’s wondrous.

Anyways, sometimes I even get that very feeling in the kitchen. I watched a TED Talk recently about the creative process, and it was mentioned that ancient Greeks thought that spirits came through the walls of one’s studio space to guide an artist with certain ideas. It’s a fun thought, for sure. Here’s a more in-depth explanation:

“Gilbert explains that in ancient Greece and ancient Rome people did not believe that creativity came from human beings. Instead, they believed there was a divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source.

The Greeks called these beings “Daemons”. It is well-known that Socrates believed that he had a daemon who spoke wisdom to him. The Romans called the disembodied creative spirit a “Genius”. That is, a genius was not a particularly clever individual, it was a magical entity that lived in the walls of an artist’s studio and would come out and invisibly help the artist with his work.

Elizabeth argues in her Ted talk that adopting a belief similar to that held by the Romans and Greeks is a good way for a creative person to establish some distance from their work. By believing that there’s a being that works through you, you keep your ego in check: after all, if your work is a success it wasn’t entirely you that created it, you had help. At the same time, it keeps performance anxiety at bay: if you create something that fails, that wasn’t entirely about you either: your genius or daemon is also to blame.” [source]

~

Often, my recipes do rely on split second inclusion of ingredients, and vague ideas that seem to wash onto the shores of my consciousness. This cookie is one such creation, and I thank whatever muse came to me through the walls of my kitchen to help me out. Because it’s delicious.

Raw Nutter Butters

Ingredients
10 dates, pitted
1 1/2 cup cashews, unsalted
2 scoops (about 1/3 cup) protein powder, unflavored or vanilla
2 tb peanut butter, or peanut flour
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup graham flour, or sub. whole wheat
Peanut butter, for filling


Add dates to food processor, and pulse until ground. Add in walnuts, and pulse until smooth. Add in protein powder, peanut, vanilla, and graham flour, and process until a thick dough forms. If dough is too sticky, add more flour and pulse until incorporated.

Lay dough out on cutting board, and flatten to 1/2 in thickness. Cut out biscuit sized rounds, and sandwich with peanut butter. Score tops of sandwiches with the flat back of a knife for a lattice pattern. Makes about 5 sandwiches.

Be forewarned, these are gooey. And they can be sticky, if your house is above say 74 degrees. To streamline the nomming process, it might be a good idea to pop them in the fridge for about an hour.

What would these pair well with? I’m inclined to say almond milk, but that’s too simple. You’re going to want strawberry rhubarb jam, which my grandma conveniently brought from North Dakota this week (so I’ve been living off the stuff). The combo will be like PB&J, but refreshingly tart and chewy.

I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow, anyway. 

Happy nomming,

Danny

Vegan Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

In life and in baking, I find my choices tend to be cyclic.

For example, I can never pass up a classic. My town had a book sale this past week. I went thrift-crazy and bought an entire grocery bag full. It was such a deal, I couldn’t help it!

Apologies for the quality, it’s my cell phone camera!

~

Well, all the classic books naturally got me thinking about classic recipes. Chocolate chip cookies – doesn’t get more classic than that.

But, of course, I had to update the recipe and make it vegan friendly. Let’s get this out of the way: these cookies are ridiculously healthy. And nom-y. It’s the best of both worlds; a tale of two cookies; paradise found.

It’s the garbanzo beans. They are my new obsession. Pureeing them gives such a silky consistency, and a perfect base for a dough. The additions of peanut butter and oatmeal add valuable protein and fiber.

I had one after my workout. Like some sort of meta cookie-workout diet.

My prediction: a new classic.

~

Vegan Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Ingredients
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring
2 tb maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
2 tb sugar substitute (I used Truvia)
1/8 cup organic dark brown sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 ounces vegan chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In food processor, combine beans, vanilla, butter flavor, maple syrup, sugar substitute, brown sugar, and almond milk. Blend until smooth.

Transfer mixture to large metal bowl. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, flour,oatmeal, and peanut butter until just combined. Stir in chocolate bits.

Roll dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and form into log. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or freeze for 2 hours, until dough is noticeably firm. Cut into 1/2 inch rounds and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on tray and then transfer to baking rack. Cookies will harden as they cool, so don’t over-bake.

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These are healthy enough that you can eat them anytime, guilt free.

Cookie breakfast, after-workout cookie, midnight cookie. Classics, all classics.

Oh, and you may feel an urge to bake these in platypus slippers. Unfortunately, I think I’m one of the only bloggers in the world who routinely bakes in platypus slippers. Pics or it didn’t happen:

Happy nomming,

Danny

Vegan Brownies with Peanut Butter Icing

This morning, for the first time in forever, I got to do some quality yoga.

I forgot just how cathartic a good workout session and yoga cool-down can be. It got me thinking about small triumphs, and how every day is sort of like climbing a series of little hills.

If you climb the first few successfully, you get the mindfulness that the rest are just as surmountable.

~

Yoga is one way you can get off on the right track, and these brownies are another.

I’ve noticed that what I eat for the first meal of my day sets the tone for the rest of the day, and how I perceive the day as a dieting “success” or “failure”. These brownies are super healthy- high fiber, high protein, low fat, and free of added sugars.

The peanut butter icing is made with Better’n Peanut Butter, which you can get at any Whole Foods or specialty health food store. It’s made with de-fatted peanut flour, so it’s only 100 calories for 2 tb instead of the typical 290 calories of most other nut butters. It’s another way you can feel good about what you’re eating, but still feel like you’re indulging.

These brownies are all the fudgy, gooey, peanut buttery goodness you crave, without the guilt that’ll cloud your mind for hours afterwards. Basically, I want to go Tina Fey on this brownie:

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients
1 can black beans, drained
10 dates, pitted
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (use soy yogurt for vegan)
1/2 cup coffee, brewed and cooled
1/2 cup light almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tb sweetener (I used Truvia)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tb cocoa powder
1 tb espresso powder

In blender, add black beans, dates, yogurt, coffee, and milk. Blend until smooth.

In large bowl, combine flour, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and espresso powder. Whisk with fork until ingredients are uniform. Add in wet ingredients until just combined.

Spread batter into rectangular glass dish, 8″ by 8″ or 11″ by 7″. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30 minutes, or until middle is cooked but still moist and top forms a firm but not burnt crust.

Peanut Butter Icing

Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used Better’n Peanut Butter) 
3 tb butter, softened

Combine all ingredients in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed. Beat until fluffy, about a minute. Add more powdered sugar if mixture is too wet.

Top cooled brownies with icing, and garnish with mini chocolate chips.

~

These brownies are rich, dark, complex, and fudgy. A large glass of almond milk would wash them down nicely.

If, like me, you are a hopeless caffeine addict, then double strength coffee pairs equally well.

Happy nomming,

Danny